The JUMP Is a Movement Challenging Consumers to Live for Joy, Not Stuff

A new movement challenges us to cut our consumption and enjoy doing it.

Take the Jump


In 2019 I wrote about a report from C40 Cities, Arup, and the University of Leeds titled "The Future of Consumption in a 1.5°C World." It was a fairly dry document that discussed how we have to cut emissions by dealing with consumption and not production, reducing our demand in buildings, transport, clothing, electronics, and aviation.

It was one of the inspirations for my book, "Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle," where I wrote: "The C40 report is prescriptive and sometimes silly (you can only buy three articles of clothing per year! Keep your computer for 7 years! You may fly only one short-haul flight every three years!)"

But I was wrong. It is not silly at all. Especially when it is reframed as a movement where you take the jump—a movement fittingly named The JUMP.

Jump shifts


"‘Taking The JUMP’ means going from a society where our mindsets, cultures and systems focus on ‘more stuff’, to a society where they focus on people and nature ... Science shows that to avoid ecological meltdown we need a two-third reduction in the impact of consumption in just 10 years, starting with rich countries. And yet, even our best examples of sustainable society still show huge and growing consumption emissions. This is because on their own, better technology and policy can’t green fast enough to keep up, when our mindsets, our cultures and our economic, political, technical and education systems are focused on more stuff."

Tom Bailey is the co-founder of The JUMP and spent six years with C40 Cities as Head of Research and then Head of the Sustainable Consumption program, which certainly explains the similarity between the programs. The science page is clear that "while this research forms the basis for the six shifts, The JUMP itself has been developed entirely independently of these three organisations, with no formal input, oversight or funding from any of them (but plenty of goodwill!)"

"Taking the JUMP" is all about a favorite topic on Treehugger—sufficiency—where you question how much you really need. Like the C40 Report, The JUMP involves making six shifts, but they make it feel positive and fun. Bailey tells Treehugger they looked at the environmental movement and groups like Extinction Rebellion and concluded: "We're not pointing fingers saying you're evil, you are destroying the planet; that approach just alienates people. It is enough to get people to try, just to start, even if you can't be perfect."

They are promoting the benefits of consuming less and the opportunities that come from this. Bailey explains: "Jump for Joy has been catalyzing, for people and businesses, the message that if we spend less time consuming, we have more time for creativity, care, craft, connections, camaraderie, celebrations, contentment—all these things that make life really good."

This is the key point:

"Live for joy, not stuff, this is not about sacrifice, it is about living our lives more fully. Taking the JUMP does not mean we must stop consuming all together and go back to living in caves. With the shifts, we can still eat lovely food, see plenty of the world in our lifetimes and dress magnificently. Yet we can do so with more time for ourselves and loved ones, more peace of mind."

It is also about equitable distribution. The JUMP notes: "Taking the JUMP is not turning your back on progress. Consumption and material progress are not fundamentally bad things. In fact they’re vital, ask anyone without enough to meet their needs. It’s just that in many parts of the world and society there is excessive consumption which is devastating our planet while not bringing substantial extra benefit."

The positivity extends to the way they describe the six shifts.

Dress Retro

Limiting your purchases to three articles of new clothing per year actually makes a lot of sense when you recognize that "the clothing and textiles industry now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and shipping combined" and "fast fashion means we are buying and replacing clothing more frequently than ever before." But what's brilliant here is that they don't frame it as doing without, but put it under the button titled "Dress Retro." They turn it into positive action.

End Clutter

Similarly, instead of just saying you should keep everything for seven years, the big button says "End Clutter." The reason for keeping electronics so long is right out of Treehugger: embodied carbon. They even use the same model of iPhone as I did.

"Our addiction to gadgets, and buying ‘stuff’ in general, is another contributor to carbon emissions. The process of extracting rare earth metals and producing huge volumes of products generates a significant amount of emissions—often more than the emissions associated with the energy demand of using the product itself. For example, only 13% of the Apple iPhone 11 Pro’s lifetime emissions are actually to do with its use; the other 86% are associated with its production, transport and end-of-life processing."

Holiday Local

The positive spin on not flying as much is limiting it to a short flight every three years and a long haul every eight years. The JUMP is from the United Kingdom, where many people hop on short flights to the continent for weekend breaks. But they also note that this is not spread evenly: "In the UK, 70% of all flights are taken by just 15% of the population."

They conclude: "It is unjust that a small proportion of citizens flying regularly use up carbon budgets whilst some people can’t afford to fly at all. Alongside this, providing viable alternatives like affordable high speed rail would support everyone to travel better. "

This doesn't work in North America with its long distances and crappy alternatives, but one can still cut back and enjoy local holidays.

Eat Green

The JUMP calls for a plant-based diet, reducing food waste, and eating healthy amounts. It writes: "Changing our behaviours around food is the most impactful of all the shifts. And an added bonus is that we can all save money! More than 25% of total global emissions arise from the food system. And it’s not just about climate change; there is a biodiversity crisis too."

This is the one section where they do not go for incremental improvements but go all the way to plant-based, instead of looking at a "climatarian" diet where one switches to foods with lower impact. A plant-based diet of air-freighted vegetables is no improvement and can be worse than eating chicken.

The recommendation on healthy portion sizes is controversial, and I took some criticism for making the same suggestion in my book, because people have different metabolisms and needs, and you can't put a number on it. The JUMP does note, "This of course varies from person to person, body type and level of exercise."

Travel Fresh

Use your car less, ride a bike or walk—and again, sounding like it's right out of Treehugger, except for the "whilst" and "tyres," understanding the importance of upfront carbon:

"Whilst there is a lot of emphasis on the role of electric vehicles (EVs) in tackling climate change, a bigger effort needs to go towards reducing the number of cars on the road. This is because a significant source of emissions is in the manufacture of vehicles—even EVs. Also, switching to EVs won’t help congestion, and still causes air pollution from tyres and brakes." 

Change the System

As Treehugger's Sami Grover keeps saying, we need to work on system change as well as personal change. Here, The JUMP calls for using ethical and green banks (do these exist?) and making at least one life shift to change the system. It writes: "If you feel comfortable and able to, you could consider pushing for change through activism or peaceful protest. For example, write to your political representative with the change you want to see."



There is a lot of information buried in the science page, drawn from the C40 report, and also the founding evidence for the design of The JUMP, including who it is directed at: the biggest emitters, the top 10% who emit almost half the carbon.

The JUMP notes: "The focus is on comfortably off individuals and households, not everyone and not everywhere. The target levels are actually set as convergence points and for many this is an increase. We must be clear that given there is inequality in consumption and wealth, there is inequality in responsibility."

Now Is the Time to Take 'The JUMP'

Less stuff more joy


In a kind of manifesto published on the website, Bailey makes a persuasive case for The JUMP:

"So many citizens around the world want to act, but feel powerless and confused about what they can do. We need a 21st-century movement which gives citizens the clarity and the tools to start experimenting with the future we need. A movement which draws humanity away from the path to collapse, and onto one that leads to a joyful and prosperous future." 

As Bailey notes, there have been many movements that have tried to get people to live more sustainable lives, to live with less, to follow a lifestyle of sufficiency, none of which exactly made anyone jump for joy. That's why there is a lot for a Treehugger to love about The JUMP. It is nothing that we haven't been saying for years but is presented in such a fresh, upbeat, and positive way that I hope it will make people want to jump right in.

Sign up for The JUMP and follow on Twitter at @takeTheJUMPnow.

View Article Sources
  1. C40 Cities. "The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°C World."

  2. The Jump. "Dress Retro."

  3. The Jump. "Holiday Local."

  4. The Jump. "Eat Green."